HE privilege given to me of writing a short Preface to this book of the Church House enables me to say some things which ought to be said but which otherwise might have remained unsaid.
In his Introduction the Bishop of Portsmouth naturally does not mention himself. But the whole Church of England knows that it is mainly to his vision, faith and imagination and to his remarkable financial and administrative ability that it owes both the conception and the building of the Church House. No one knows better than I do as Chairman of the Council the difficulties and anxieties - greatly increased by the outbreak of the war - which had to be overcome. They could scarcely have been overcome at all if the Bishop had not possessed in himself the mingled "firmness and patience" of which he writes. He would be the first to acknowledge the value of the help and advice given by the Council of the Corporation of the Church House. But they know that from the beginning he has been himself the mainstay of the enterprise.
Similarly, the distinguished architect of the House-Sir Herbert Baker-is silent about his own personal work. He has given to it and to every detail of it all his resources of constructive ability and wide culture. His account of the Art and Symbolism of the House shows that there is a poet in the architect. He gathered around him and inspired a fellowship of like-minded artists. It is well that future generations of Churchpeople who will use the House should have in the record which he has written an explanation of the thoughts and ideals which are embodied in the ornaments and decorations with which the House has been or will be enriched. It is perhaps to the Chapel that Sir Herbert Baker with his fellow artists has most specially given his care and thought and imagination. It is only right that I should add a grateful acknowledgement of the help given about the Chapel by the advice of the Chapel Committee of the Council and particularly of the Deans of Westminster and of Norwich.
The great building is now offered to the Church in the hope that it may become ever more fully a centre of the varied life and manifold activities of the Church. Above all, it is offered to the Divine Head of the Church with the prayer that as He has so far prospered the undertaking so in the future He may be pleased to bless and use it for the good of His people and the service of His Kingdom.
14th May 1940